The AEC Automotive Solutions website helps automotive engineers better understand aluminum extrusions for light-weighting applications. (Graphic: Business Wire)

CHICAGO—The Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC) recently unveiled a new interactive resource tool that automotive design engineers can use on its website, according to a release from AEC. The interactive web page, www.AEC.org/AutoSolutions, delivers information on the effective use of aluminum extrusions in various vehicle components, systems, and subsystems. It also highlights technical details such as alloys, fabrication methods, performance characteristics and more.

As visitors scroll over an image of a vehicle, a pop-up box appears, providing information on the selected system or component and offering a link to explore more deeply into that particular application. Currently, the site features detailed information on vehicle components, such as roof headers, battery boxes, sub-frames, rockers, and cross members. More modules are being developed and will be added in the future.

The tool is intended to assist automotive designers—from the novice to the highly experienced—to better understand aluminum extrusions and how to effectively employ them in vehicle applications.

“Aluminum extrusions are ideal for helping to remove weight in vehicle design, but they offer so much more,” said Mark Butterfield, AEC automotive team chairman and managing director of Magnode, a Shape Corp. company. “Aluminum extrusions are corrosion resistant with high strength-to-weight ratio, and can deliver a part that can be complex, produced to tight tolerances, and combines multiple functions to eliminate parts and be easily assembled. And, they are fully recyclable. That combination of attributes has led to an 80 percent increase in the use of extruded shapes per vehicle since 2012, and we project an additional 40-50 percent growth in per-vehicle usage over the next five years.”

The interactive tool was designed to impart important information and useful details about aluminum extrusion in vehicle design.

“We created this site to highlight creative, and often demanding, extrusion applications, and to stimulate designers and engineers to think about how to utilize extrusions for more components or vehicle systems,” Butterfield continued. “The site demonstrates how extrusions can and are being used in many ways throughout the vehicle architecture. We hope this website will be a go-to reference for automotive engineers when they have questions relative to employing aluminum extrusions in their vehicle designs.”

Butterfield noted that it is important to get a qualified automotive industry extruder involved early [in the process] “in order to optimize the component for its particular application and deliver a cost-effective solution.”

The Aluminum Extruders Council, established in 1950, is a trade association dedicated to advancing the effective use of aluminum extrusion in North America. It is committed to bringing comprehensive information about extrusion’s characteristics, applications, environmental benefits, design, and technology to users, product designers, engineers, and the academic community, AEC said in the release.

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